Transportation in Tennessee....Profits over People

Transportation in Tennessee….Profits over People

Lara Gass and Tennessee Transportation Safety

Lara Gass was a shining star in every sense of the word – smart, beautiful, driven, compassionate, and engaged.

Lara was 2 months from graduating from law school when she was killed in a senseless and preventable car accident. Not only was Lara killed by this safety recall, but 7 other Tennesseans have been killed by the same safety recall, one of them a 5-year-old girl from our area of southern middle Tennessee. According to General Motors’ own statistics, 174 people have been killed across the country by this safety recall.

Lara’s car had a faulty ignition switch. The switch failed while Lara was driving on the interstate, resulting in a loss of brakes, steering, and airbags. The switch was a GM safety recall that had NOT been fixed when Lara’s parents bought the car, and of which Lara and her family were unaware, but GM was very aware.

Lara’s parents, to channel their profound grief, and ensure that no other families experienced this unspeakable pain, focused their efforts on legislation that would prevent this type of accident to happen to another Tennessee family. Simply put, Lara’s Law would require all safety recalls to be fixed on used cars before the vehicles can be sold by a dealership.

The Gasses worked with TN legislators in writing Lara’s Law. They met with Jim Tracy, chair of the transportation committee, who assured them he understood their loss and supported their effort. As soon as the bill was brought before the Senate Transportation Committee, however, Senator Tracy offered what is known as an “unfriendly” amendment, an amendment which shifted the responsibility and liability for safety recall repairs to the consumer, and away from the dealership and manufacturer. This had the complete opposite effect that the Gasses intended. They withdrew their support for the bill, and the bill was killed by the special interest lobbying efforts of the auto dealers and manufacturers.

Senator Tracy voted to favor business and profits over people, again. These defective cars not only endanger their drivers and passengers but everyone who shares the road with them. Senator Tracy has a pattern of voting for profits over people, and this time, he effectively made our roads less safe, and our families more at risk by allowing thousands of safety-recalled cars to be sold UNREPAIRED. I don’t know where Senator Tracy’s loyalty lies, but it is clear it is not with the people of Tennessee.

At the end of this post, you can find the links to the Committee hearing, the Gasses’ story, and Senator Tracy’s PAC contribution list which will help give insight on this event.

Enough is enough. It’s time to put people ahead of special interest money. My name is Gayle Jordan, and when I’m elected to the State Senate I’ll demonstrate my loyalty to the people of Tennessee by co-sponsoring and voting for Lara’s Law.

TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE HEARING, Lara’s Law (SB 1489) begins at timestamp 49:47: